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Grand Slam - 9/22/2021


The Natural
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Almost falling between the cracks of an all-time great show was the hilarity of Y2J proclaiming he was ‘feral’. 

I know you did your best Brody tribute in New Japan but come on mate, you lead a sing-song karaoke session (backed by yourself singing in your own vanity rock band) every week. I’ll willingly buy a lot of things from the man, but wild man shooter is not one of them.

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While Kenny is a divisive figure, I really enjoyed his NJPW run. I echo those of you who said this was the closest AEW has gotten to the NJPW version of Kenny. The match style, even another bit of a reference to Kota Ibushi in the colors of Omega's ring gear this time. To me, the match felt like a conversation between two experts in their field...who are just getting to know each other. There are more depths to that matchup that can be explored another time, I think. The first third to half of the match was so heavily strike-based that it leaves them plenty to do in the future, even structure the next match completely differently if they want to.

I still dig Malakai Black overall, but at times it almost looks like the stuff he's going for in there is just unorthodox enough to disrupt his opponent's rhythm, and not in a "within kayfabe" sort of way. Unless my eyes deceived me, Cody may have gotten lucky to avoid a legit knee injury on that flying scissors takedown Black attempted during the picture in picture segment. Sort of an awkward landing for him, and that technique is banned in many Judo and BJJ competitions for its high potential for causing catastrophic leg injuries. I grimaced when I saw it - if that truly had gone wrong/gone worse, it probably ends the match on the spot.

I mostly enjoyed everything else, but I didn't find it the best idea to send out one of the biggest stars in wrestling to have him say "How to you follow that?!" after Omega/Danielson. Not that it's a completely incorrect thing to say after a match like that (you may be able to count on two hands the number of wrestler pairings worldwide who could follow that match, and some of those pairings involve the two guys who just wrestled...), but at the same time, I don't need to be told that everything that follows will underwhelm me by comparison. At least for me, it deflated a bit of my excitement for the rest of the card.

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Production values for AEW tonight looked and sounded the best they've ever been. Arthur Ashe Stadium looked tremendous on TV. 

I remember the early days of Dynamite there were a lot production nitpicks I had, especially in terms of the sound and ring mic'ing. I feel they cleared those up tonight. This is a personal pet peeve, but I hate it when the ring action is so mic'ed up you hear this constant clip clopping in the ring. Drives me nuts.

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Dynamite looked awesome in Arthur Ashe Stadium. It added to how great the show was.

Did anyone think Sting was gonna have a career resurgence in 2021 after 6 years out of the ring?

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16 minutes ago, Teflon Turtle said:

While Kenny is a divisive figure, I really enjoyed his NJPW run. I echo those of you who said this was the closest AEW has gotten to the NJPW version of Kenny. The match style, even another bit of a reference to Kota Ibushi in the colors of Omega's ring gear this time. To me, the match felt like a conversation between two experts in their field...who are just getting to know each other. There are more depths to that matchup that can be explored another time, I think. The first third to half of the match was so heavily strike-based that it leaves them plenty to do in the future, even structure the next match completely differently if they want to.

As people were going goo goo gaga on twitter, Omega only goes for the Phoenix Splash when he feels at risk emotionally. It's his safety blanket and yet he never hits it hah. Love that shit.

Full credit to the crowd, Arthur Ashe Stadium, and the set-up from the AEW crew. The audio mix was perfect. John Silver and many others in the building saying it was the loudest crowd they ever heard. 

Edited by Jiji
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It was surreal to see those two in the ring together for an actual match. Then you had a rabid audience and Danielson couldn't stop smiling. I love pro wrestling. 😁 I'd have to watch the Rhodes brothers singles match to see if this is better but it's 1A and 1B in my books. That was a more emotional story-driven match, this was different, as it should be. I think the emotional weight will come in sequels, with more stakes, and earned emotional weight.

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2 minutes ago, Jiji said:

It was surreal to see those two in the ring together for an actual match. Then you had a rabid audience and Danielson couldn't stop smiling. I love pro wrestling. 😁 I'd have to watch the Rhodes brothers singles match to see if this is better but it's 1A and 1B in my books. That was a more emotional story-driven match, this was different, as it should be. I think the emotional weight will come in sequels, with more stakes, and earned emotional weight.

I'm going to be watching Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega a second time and see where it places. As of right now, it would provisionally place in my top five. It's definitely the best singles match in AEW history.

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5 minutes ago, Jiji said:

Yeah, I still think the Bucks vs. Omega and Hangman is the company's best match but as far as singles goes, it's this or Cody/Dustin.

I forgot Thunder Rosa vs. Dr Britt Baker's Lights Out match.

Singles:

5. Kenny Omega vs. PAC. Dynamite, 26th February 2020.

4. Mr Brodie Lee vs. Cody. Dynamite, 7th October 2020. *****.

3. Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes. Double or Nothing 2019. *****. 

2. Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker. Dynamite, 17th March 2021. *****.

1. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega. Dynamite, 22nd September 2021. *****.

Overall:

5. Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes. Double or Nothing 2019. *****. 

4. Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker. Dynamite, 17th March 2021. *****.

3. Kenny Omega/Adam Page vs. Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson. Revolution 2020. *****.

2. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega. Dynamite, 22nd September 2021. *****.

1. Adam Page/John Silver/Alex Reynolds vs. MJF/Santana/Ortiz. Dynamite, 30th December 2020.

I need to watch Danielson/Omega back and I haven't managed to get to sleep yet either.

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Looking forward to the rematch between Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega for the callbacks and how the first saved things. Danielson never hit the Running Knee and he wasn't able to get the crossface part of the LeBell Lock. Omega never used the Double Underhook Piledriver or the One Winged Angel.

Edited by The Natural
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Rewatching the clips of the opening match, seeing Callis there at the epicentre of all of it, looking like as one reddit post put it ‘a walking GTA Vice City Loading Screen’, makes you think about what a wild ride he’s had in the last few years.

From being completely retired from everything wrestling related till 2016, to doing the podcast for fun with Lance, to NJPW announcing, to helping to give Impact a shot in the arm with D’Amore in a behind the scenes role, to the Carny Piece of Shit hanger-on for Omega, soaking it all in with 20k fans going BANANA. Quite surreal.

Edited by Custos
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13 minutes ago, Custos said:

Rewatching the clips of the opening match, seeing Callis there at the epicentre of all of it, looking like as one reddit post put it ‘a walking GTA Vice City Loading Screen’, makes you think about what a wild ride he’s had in the last few years.

From being completely retired from everything wrestling related till 2016, to doing the podcast for fun with Lance, to NJPW announcing, to helping to give Impact a shot in the arm with D’Amore in a behind the scenes role, to the Carny Piece of Shit hanger-on for Omega, soaking it all in with 20k fans going BANANA. Quite surreal.

Not to mention going all in on Tessa for a year plus and having it get over big and then blowing up the final weekend. Crazy ride. 

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The show was so fun live. I missed the first half of Bryan vs Omega because we were still walking to the building. That's the one draw back to Arthur Ashe. It's a shitload of walking and that's just from the 7 train. God help those of us who had to park like a mile away at the marina.

What I saw of Bryan and Omega it was amazing.

MJF  is so damn hated and those boos were loud.

Cody made the mistake of picking NYC to be a white meat baby face. That was a good match though. Loved the black mist from Black.

Ruby was so loved by the crowd. But damn , Britt is super over. DMD. 

Overall a fun night. Based on the size of the crowd I think they could easily get 30k plus at Citi field. Maybe more for a summer show.

Oh I forgot. I can't believe I saw Sting tear up the place. It's mind numbing that he's over 60. Darby is gonna kill himself with those apron coffin drops.

Edited by Phantom Lord
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I'd like to thank AEW for Tweeting everyone to take mass transit, resulting in absolutely zero traffic. We made it home an hour after the main event, while the estimated train ride was FIVE hours. 

My voice is gone. I have never experienced live wrestling on that level. I have a ton of scattered thoughts so do bear with me

Firstly: Sting. I have been waiting to see Sting since 1996, man. I cannot emphasize how happy I am to have gotten to see him. And not only was the match tremendous, but FTR wearing the NWO parody trunks for this was the icing on the cake.

Everything you heard about insane lines for merch and food/drinks is true. It was crazy. At one point the stand near me ran out of beer, and they had to send a guy to another place to get it, but I dipped back to my seat because Punk was coming out. Kyle in sec 127, if you are on this board, my bad dude. Flip side of the coin: my girlfriend said twice she was alone in the ladies room...

Something dope is gonna happen on Rampage but I can't figure out the tags right now.

I have a lot more thoughts on the show but I absolutely cannot gather them, I'm still fired up. I'm just so incredibly happy AEW exists. Everyone there cared, everyone loves this. Like, I never went to a Raw where I made line friends who wanted to talk about how cool the mechanical doors on WCW SN sounded. And this crowd was again, just on another level. I mean the roar even being in the building was legit near- overwhelming at times. 

Truly blown away by this evening. 

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3 hours ago, The Natural said:

I forgot Thunder Rosa vs. Dr Britt Baker's Lights Out match.

Singles:

5. Kenny Omega vs. PAC. Dynamite, 26th February 2020.

4. Mr Brodie Lee vs. Cody. Dynamite, 7th October 2020. *****.

3. Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes. Double or Nothing 2019. *****. 

2. Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker. Dynamite, 17th March 2021. *****.

1. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega. Dynamite, 22nd September 2021. *****.

 

I agree with this singles list, the nice thing is that the only two "similar" matches here are Omega/Bryan and Omega/PAC, but the rest are all pretty unique so any could be your number one based on which style you prefer.

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I am NOT happy about the fact that I have thoroughly enjoyed two consecutive Kenny Omega matches.  When he is reserved, and actually leans into being a real heel, he is very watchable. He has been among my least favorite people to watch for several years, but he also just worked two of my literal all time favorite workers back to back. Fantastic match that left a lot more for them to do next time.

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First thought is this was a smart move to have a TV special than a PPV. While every match had build to it, I think if this was half a PPV I'd be disappointed. But for TV, it's all good. One great match (Omega vs Danielson), one fun match (tag match), two solid/ok matches (womens title, MJF vs Pillman) and one dud (Cody vs Black) and no major angles.

Omega vs Bryan delivered. Not a seven star match or any nonsense like that, but a great, hard-hitting, well laid out match that felt big-time and still left plenty on the table for future matches. Time limit draw was predictable, but the right move. This was very much an ROH Danielson match through and through, especially the way it was paced and laid out, the top notch strike exchanges, top notch limb-work, etc. The visual of Danielson with his chest all busted up and the mouse over his eye was so visceral. Thumbs up.

Cody in full evil kenevil/homelander garb with Brandi getting booed was hilarious. The match was worked like Black was the face, the crowd were treating it that way, but they didn't lean into it and insisted on playing it straight. Unfortunate that Arn slipped on the apron to telegraph that spot but as a match I thought it was another flop on Cody's resume. Guy needs a revamp big-time.

FTR vs Sting/Darby was a fun filler match. I haven't seen much of Pillman Jr but he didn't leave much of an impression tonight - MJF has improved a lot over his AEW tenure though. Britt vs Ruby was OK with a couple nice big spots (avalanche air raid crash, stomp on the steps). Reba screaming "YEEEEEES SMASH HER FACE" had me howling.

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